OPEN footwear: my final project: UPDATED: Pictures Galore

Hey everybody,

this is my final project for school as I’m graduating this spring.

The idea is to build a shoe, a modular sandal, in a way.

An EVA midsole is raised at midfoot to make way for the upper to wrap under, this allows the user to switch uppers according to taste and preference. The collection would include numbers of different uppers, varying both in shape and materials.

This construction would also allow the user to personalized insoles, as well as allow the user to switch insoles according to the day’s activity.

The working title for the project is open footwear , it serves as a mean to distance my shoe from sandals, flip flops and slippers, to create a new genre, so to speak. The name also refers to the shoes ability to be modified in an easy way.

Like you can see in the following images, the project is far from being finished. My hope is that by posting the project at this stage, I can acquire some valuable feedback from you who frequent this board.

As far as materials and other resources go, my access is quite limited. Especially when it comes to things like lace holes, toggles, loops etc. These days I’m looking for which type of leathers I can acquire, I recently visited a small tanning factory in the north of Iceland, they specialize in fish leathers. I find fish leather quite fascinating as it holds amazing strength, even though it is very thin. The thin field of materials will require me to be resourceful, and work with what I have. This will probably result in the uppers to be minimal, but then again, it will direct attention towards the modular features and in a way make it the key player of this shoe.

A local prosthetic company, which also makes orthopedic shoes, has given me permission to use their workshop, they are pretty well equipped so that really helps.

Their really isn’t a history of footwear design or production in Iceland, so feedback from knowledgeable people is hard to come by. That’s where you come in! I would like to keep this thread an open dialogue. I will post pictures as the project progresses, and hopefully you guys will provide me with feedback, questions, critique and pointers as I go on and help me make this project as good as possible.

Thanks for taking a look.

Kind regards, Sindri

Additional images

I think it’s a fantastic idea and I’m very impressed that you have been able to make prototypes. There is some history of footwear design in Iceland - Don’t forget X18! I know a couple of people in Iceland who have involvement/past involvement in the footwear trade - but knowing how small the place is (I’ve worked there myself) you may probably already know of them!

So far so good, would be great to see a working prototype. I’d love to see you be able to take this further, I think it has great potential.

The main problem with your design is the lack of support around the joint (the area just above your toes). You mighht find you have to make the instep area and upper wider and bring it forward towards the toes. The toeloop design solves this problem a bit, I’m tempted to put anther strap accross the forepart but this kind of spoils your concept a little.

the idea is not bad though.

but I´d say to try to smooth the lines of your upper,the ankle of your pattern is too straight and the shapes are too pronunciates,I guess you would like to give a fancy aesthetic to the model right.

nice sketches and process work. i also do wonder though about the actual function of it as shoenista mentioned. i think without a strap or other fixing near the toe, the front of the shoe would slap around and not fit really well.

have you actually tried making a proof of concept model of your shoe to see if it works? you could easily do so cutting up an existing shoe/sandal to figure out where there needs to be contact between the foot and upper/outosole to keep the shoe in place…

otherwise, nice project.


Agree with above.

A small note, not sure you would want a full length shank.

  1. you don’t want something hard right under your foot.
  2. it won’t move the way your foot moves
  3. by stiffening the midsole, it will make loud flip flop noises when you walk.

Shoenista You’re right about X18, shame how that thing went down, the production manager is actually a classmate of mine, do you by any chance remember Hlín?

rkuchinsky cutting up an existing shoe! of course, great point, I’ll get on it tomorrow.

I’ve been scratching my head about the joint area support, or lack of actually. My thought was that I would be able to get away with it with a cupped outsole, a personalized insole and a healthy chunk of material under the medial side of the arch.

yo how about something less rigid? Nylon plate or some kind of plastic? Or would a shorter plate do thet trick?

I had the pleasure of visiting a fish skin tannery the other day, here are some images from my trip.

In the small town of Sauðárkrókur in northern Iceland…

The salmon skin arrives at the tannery

Skin goes through a chemical treatment to prevent bacterial growth

Here you can see the skins being dried after dyeing

Some colors

Some more

Even more

Something from the lab, shark leather…

Here’s a product featuring their leather

Yes I know her very well, even stayed at her house. I worked freelance for her some years ago!

Logo and branding suggestions. Ideation Flow.

Please Click For Larger View.

Alright people, I’ve finished project Open Footwear.

Pictures are worth a thousand words…

I made the midsole by vacuum forming a heated EVA sheet onto a last with the insole in place.

The formed EVA sheet was then sanded down to desired shape.

As per rkuchinsky’s suggestion I cut open a shoe to see if I could get away with leaving the joint area unconstructed.

My test results lead me to think that with a well formed insole, a cupped midsole and a upper which covers the entire area where you would normally have laces, I could keep the forefoot area open.

Making the upper was a lot more work than I ever would have thought, there are so many things to consider that never occurred to me when I’m simply drawing shoes.

-insole design

-Display wall design, I wanted the showroom to reflect the puzzle-like quality of the shoes. the panels can be re-arranged any which way.

The Real Thing!

So there you have it. I just wanted to get this out there, I’ll need to put it together in a more orderly fashion, as well as get some studio photos done of the shoes.

This project was a wonderful experience, seeing your own creation come alive is such a thrill. Especially after years of drawing shoes, to actually make one.

I’m too knackered too write much, I was just really psyched to post pictures, if there are any questions at all, please don’t hesitate. Fire away comments and critiques as well.

Cheers, Sindri

Great work Sindri! I’m feeling the stitch details on the strapless sandal. Great info on the fish leather too!

Awesome project Sindri. Really glad to see how it turned out. I really like the stitch detail on the upper. The display panels and logo came out great as well. Definitely makes me want to do a footwear product for my thesis next year…

Serious presentation! Nice work.

Why aren’t you wearing them in that presentation picture? Were those 3 the only ones you got made?

Good point, did you comfort test these sandals?

Excellent process on the project by the way!

thanks for the kind words, I really appreciate it.

dblaveino - Yes, I only made three right shoes, all of them are size 9. The shoes were made with the exhibition in mind, because of a limited timeframe, I thought it would be a waste of time to make a left and a right shoe.
I’m a size 13 myself, have you ever seen a size 13 shoe on a wall, not a good look.

Also, I didn’t have them made, I got some good help and guidance, but I made them.

eco.iD - I had some guys try a shoe on. All of them liked the way they felt, but there hasn´t been any real testing.

A few Q’s if you don’t mind?

Where did you purchase a shoe last? I’ve looked on eBay, but they only have old antique lasts for rediculous prices.

Where did you purchase the sheet of EVA? And what density of was it?

So when you placed the EVA over the last, was that done with a vacuum former?

Great project, it’s inspired me to try to make models of my shoe concept!

nice presentation and great to see your working process of making the samples. for sure a great school project.

im still curious however if the shoe would work as intended and not flip-flap on the foot without something to hold the toes in. The pointy part that comes down over the top of the foot also looks like an area of concern for creasing/pinching. I also wonder if the closure system you have would really work. To me, these are the more immediate of concerns in the project, and ones I would have hoped you to explore more in the design/modelling phase. Somewhat it looks like you had a concept to start with and pursued more of the modeling aspects that the design/functionality which i think suffered in the process.

In any case, a good complete experience, esp. for a school project and nice to see your really resourceful use of modelling techniques! interesting branding as well.

The final designs however, i also do question a bit in terms of style/design. Are they supposed to be a men’s slip-on? looks a bit feminine from the pics, perhaps because of the thick midsole, and maybe a little light on the detailing.

Overall, though, well done.


That was awesome… i love the fact that you took the time to share the process with us! I hope more projects like these are put up… will help all the newbies [like me!!!]

However, i have the same concerns as our pro, richard… makes me feel like the shoe would feel very lite and flappy up front!

I think the OP, worked with a shoe manufacturer. You can order lasts from here

EVas, I don’t know about - I do know it comes in absolutely enormous sheets, which might be impossible to mail…